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May 30, 2001


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Jefferson falls to Bowdon in state semifinals
It was a good run, but it came up just a bit short.
The Jefferson baseball team completed its 2001 season Saturday in Bowdon with a pair of losses in the state Class A semifinals. The Red Devils came from behind to win both games, 7-4 and 11-10, but Jefferson mounted serious rallies late to keep fans on their feet, particularly in game two.
"We definitely got put out by a good team," head coach Chuck Cook said afterward. "It just shows what we're made of that we just didn't back down, and it almost worked. We went down and faced the number-one team in the state, and the boys fought as hard as they could fight."
The day began well enough, with the Dragons jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of game one. Ryan Gurley singled and Josh Nabors reached on an error, and senior Corey Hill ripped a triple down the right field line to drive both in.
Brantley Gilbert scored Jefferson's third run almost singlehandedly in the second inning. Gilbert singled and stole second, then went to third on an errant throw from the catcher on the steal. A passed ball allowed Gilbert to dash home to make it 3-0.
Devil pitching sensation Tyler Meigs shut the Dragons down from there, yielding only a chop single to Gilbert over the next four innings. At the same time, Bowdon hitters began finding ways to hit Hill's missiles. Bowdon scored three times in the bottom of the second and threatened with a pair of two-out singles in the third, but strong pitching from Hill forced an infield pop-out to end the inning.
The tied game got even more tense in the fourth, when a Bowdon baserunner stole second and bowled Dragon Ben Songer over as he came in. A walk later, Meigs singled in the go-ahead run and later scored on another single to make it 5-3.
Neither team sent more than three batters to the plate per inning after that until the bottom sixth, when Bowdon got a two-out walk and a bullet home run from Meigs that made it 7-3.
Gurley doubled with two out for Jefferson in the seventh, and Nabors doubled him in to close the gap to 7-4, but Meigs still had enough left for a strikeout to end the threat.
GAME TWO
Bowdon took advantage of a walk, a single, an error and a hit batsman to score in the first inning of game two, but starter Kyle Potts held the Devils in check over the next two innings, despite aggravating a separated fingernail on his pitching hand.
Jefferson got a double from Shane Wilburn, a walk and an error in the bottom first to score two runs. Potts and Hill each sacrificed runners over in the inning.
Bowdon threatened with two two-out singles in the second, but third baseman Jeremy Smith came up with a nice grab on a low line-drive to strand the runners.
Potts provided some fireworks in the second inning to give Jefferson a 6-1 lead. Songer singled over third base and Gurley followed with a double, and Nabors walked to load the bases. Potts responded to the opportunity by slamming a home run that gave him some breathing room on the mound. But it wouldn't last long.
The Devils led off the fourth inning with five consecutive singles, and later added three more singles and a home run to take an 8-6 lead. Jefferson managed only a walk over the next two innings.
Bowdon scored three more times in the sixth, off three singles and two Dragon errors to make it 11-6 heading in to Jefferson's final two at-bats.
But even when facing a five-run deficit, the Dragons refused to quit.
Smith led off the sixth with a single, and Songer and Gurley both doubled later with two outs to close to 11-8. Bowdon called on Meigs for relief help, and the senior held off any further damage.
Hill got Bowdon to go three up and three down in the seventh, but saved his best work for the bottom half of the inning.
Potts led off with a ground-rule double before Meigs recorded yet another strikeout. That brought Hill to the plate, and the senior responded with one of his longest home runs in his final career at-bat. The ball sailed more than 50 feet above the fence 340 feet away, and into the top of a massive poplar tree beyond. The blast closed Bowdon's lead to 11-10 with one out, but a pair of infield ground outs ended the game and Jefferson's season.
Hill's home run in his final at-bat held off a late-season charge from Potts for the team lead in dingers. Hill had 10 for the year, and Potts nine.
"I just felt honored to be able to be a part of this season and this team," Cook continued. "I'm real proud of them and the season tehy had. They accomplished a lot. When they stepped out on the field, they gave 110 percent, and you can't ask anything else. I wish we were playing for it all, but I'm not disappointed in the boys. The way they pulled together as a family, I'll never forget it, I promise you that. That's what it's going to take next year, too."
Bowdon will travel to Walker this weekend for the final round of the state tournament.




Moore leads Leopards' spring football
New Banks County football coach Greg Moore set out to build a competitive football team in Banks County during the Leopard's spring practice which ran from May 14 to 25.
Moore is taking over the head coaching position after Rance Gillespie left for Peach County's coaching job. Gillespie had been 5-15 over the past two seasons at Banks County.
"We have a strong group of seniors," Moore reported. "My goal this spring was to work on fundamentals, blocking and tackling, evaluate personnel and create some excitement." Moore said that the fundamentals of blocking and tackling are always a focus for him in the spring practice.
The Leopards will have two quarterbacks contending for the starting job. Senior Bill Krauser and Sophomore Tyson Baxter are both poised to take the lead role in Moore's wing-T offense.
Seth Brownlee stood out as the number one fullback in the Spring practice and Corey Bolton looks to be the number one halfback.
The offensive line will be led by senior strong guard Cory Bolton who will protect whoever is in the quarterback spot as the Leopards plan" to put it in the air," Moore said.
"We got a good group of receivers," Moore reported, including Hank Wilhelm and Tim Brown.
On the defensive side of the ball Michael Carlyle seems to be most notable at tackle. Nick Baker at defensive end "had a good spring," Moore said.
Moore stressed that "everyone had a good spring. We tried to get everyone involved and we are excited about the kids coming up."
The Leopards will start weight training Monday morning (June 4) at 6:30 a.m. and many of the players will attend various camps throughout the summer. Banks County will have a team camp later in the summer, Moore said.




Tigers Finish Second Week of Spring Practice On 'A Good Note,' Savage Says
The Commerce Tigers' football team finished up its second week of spring practice Friday, May 25. The Tigers continued to run through many of the drills they had started the week before and continued to work on conditioning.
"We finished up on a good note," coach Steve Savage reported. "We are better than when we first started. We had a good attitude. This will take us into summer and into the fall.".
The football players had their physicals May 29 in the field house and will begin weight training June 12.
Commerce will host The Northeast Georgia Offensive Camp July 17 through the 19.
"The camp is really two camps in one," Savage said.
One part will focus on quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.
The other is an offensive line camp.
Three hundred kids from all over North Georgia will participate in the camp and 25 coaches will teach at the camp, Savage said.




JCPRD begins tournament play this week
The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department began its end-of-season spring baseball and softball tournaments Tuesday, and play will continue for some divisions through June 11.
The 7- and 8-year-old boys' baseball division kicked off the tournaments with six games Tuesday at the Jefferson baseball complex at Jefferson Elementary School. That division will also complete its tournament first, with games scheduled Wednesday through Saturday and the final round next Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The 13-14 boys will begin their tournament Saturday at Lamar Murphy Park, with the final round scheduled for next Saturday at 10 a.m. Also getting under way Saturday at Lamar Murphy will be the 11-12 boys. That division has not yet been scheduled for tournament play, as the regular season's final games will be held Thursday. Seeds will be determined after Thursday's games, but Saturday's game times are already set (see graphic on Page 2B). Tournament finals are set for next Saturday at noon and the following Monday at 6:30 p.m., if needed.
Hoschton will host the 9-10 boys' baseball tournament, which begins Saturday and will wrap up either next Saturday at 11:45 a.m. or the following Monday at 6:30 p.m., if needed.
Softball tournaments begin Monday, with the 7-8 girls and 11-12 girls at Lamar Murphy and the 9-10 girls at Nicholson. Finals in the 11-12 division are scheduled to begin Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and wrap up Friday at 6:30 p.m. if needed, with the 9-10 girls Friday at 7:30 p.m. and 7-8 girls Friday at 7:15 p.m. and again Saturday at 10 a.m., if needed.


Swann helps guide diamond Dogs to NCAA Super Regionals
If the University of Georgia baseball team's postseason journey finds its way to Omaha, Neb., former Raider Adam Swann will surely be remembered for doing his part to clear the path.
The Comer native supplied some timely hitting during the diamond Dogs' tear through the NCAA Regional Tournament, batting .400 with eight RBIs in five games, highlighted by a five-for-five outing against Georgia Tech Saturday in which he drilled a grand slam.
Swann's offensive efforts earned him all region tournament honors and helped his team overcome an opening-round loss to collect four consecutive wins to capture the region tournament title and stay alive in the NCAA tournament.
The diamond Dogs are now two wins away from a trip to Nebraska and the College World Series as they enter the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional Tournament against Florida State in Athens on June 1-3.
If the squad advances past the Seminoles, it will be Georgia's first appearance in Omaha since 1990, the same year the diamond Dogs secured their first and only national championship.
Swann certainly left his imprint on the regional play in Athens.
After going hitless in the team's opening-round loss to Georgia Southern, Swann drilled an RBI double against Georgia Tech to go with his grand slam, collecting five RBIs in a 13-5 win. He then picked up two RBIs in the team's 10-9 rematch win over Georgia Southern, followed by a three- for-four day with an RBI in a 9-3 win over Coastal Carolina. Swann then went 0-for-four in the final round, 8-7 win over the Coastal Carolina squad, a game in which teammate Jeff Keppinger belted three homers, including a two-run, game-winning shot in the top of the ninth inning to give Georgia the win.
Swann, who holds six offense records and one pitching record from his playing days at Madison County High School, currently is batting .324 with six home runs, 23 doubles and 60 RBIs for the 45-19, ninth-ranked diamond Dogs.


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